Updates from the Shelby County Commission

Right on the Bluff: July 2024

Bringing the heat

Summer has arrived, and with it warmer temperatures. But campaign season is also heating up. The presumptive U.S. Presidential nominees just held their first debate, and soon the national conventions will take place.

There’s plenty cooking in Shelby County, too. Early voting begins this month. The first day to cast your ballot is Friday, July 12. Don’t wait until November to vote. For more information about the August 1 election, visit

The Shelby GOP Lincoln Day Gala was held last week at the Memphis Hilton, where I enjoyed the safest seat in the room. My thanks to Chief Jeff Cox and the Bartlett Police Department leadership team for joining me. They drew heat recently from one of the dumbest advocacy groups on the planet. Needless to say, I back BPD.

County budget approved

The Shelby County Board of Commissioners has approved a budget for FY25. Once again, we held the property tax rate flat and defeated a proposed tax hike. All of the vacant positions in the Sheriff’s office were maintained. A full summary of the budget action is posted to my X account here.

You may have heard that I proposed more than $4 million in budget cuts. Two of my four amendments got approved, but they were the smallest ones. The board voted down my amendment to defund the now empty Criminal Court Division 9, as well as one that would have defunded the bail hearing courtroom.

Daily Memphian reporter Bill Dries wrote that the amendments “had little impact on the $1.6 billion county consolidated budget.” That’s one perspective; another is $4 million in cuts could have shaved another two pennies off of your property tax rate.

Legal challenge ahead

The board of commissioners recently voted 5-5 to defeat a resolution I brought that would have asked the Juvenile Court and the Sheriff’s Office to enter mediation.

The two parties disagree about who should operate the juvenile detention center, with Sheriff Bonner saying he will pull his deputies at the end of the calendar year, and Judge Sugarmon currently rejecting any transition timeline.

Commissioners have chosen to sit on the sidelines and await disaster, refusing to even discuss the budget implications should Juvenile Court need to staff up quickly.

Clerk ouster update

This past month a judge dismissed the ouster case brought by Coty Wamp, saying the District Attorney from Hamilton County lacked jurisdiction.

That meant Shelby County was “stuck” with Clerk Wanda Halbert unless someone else filed the ouster petition — from a specific list of three individuals with the authority. I reviewed the options in a recent blog post titled “The long wait.”

However, on the eve of the one-year anniversary of Wamp’s appointment, Shelby County Attorney Marlinee Iverson’s office selected a new outside counsel to take over. The case is back on.

Upcoming meetings

July 17 — Standing Committee Meetings, 8:30 a.m.
July 22 — Commission meeting, 3 p.m.

Puppy adoption update

In previous updates, I shared that we adopted a puppy from Memphis Animal Services in early May, right before an outbreak temporarily closed the facility. Though she had been exposed to distemper and was visibly sick at pickup, Halo is now healthy, happy and growing like crazy. I’m following the continued turmoil at MAS with concern.

Stay in touch

If you have a question or concern, email me at

You can speak with the Commission office by calling 901-222-1000.

I welcome your feedback on Facebook @CommissionerMickWright and X @mickwright.

Thanks for reading.

Mick Wright
Shelby County Commission – District 3